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Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Aug 1, 2005
This week's theme
Biblical allusions

This week's words
potter's field
crown of thorns
widow's cruse
golden calf
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with Anu Garg

In the 1920s, while barring the teaching of foreign languages, Texas governor Miriam "Ma" Ferguson picked up a Bible and famously declared, "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for Texas."

The governor could be excused for not knowing that what she held in her hand was a translation, but not for mixing state and religion. But here we'll focus on the former.

If anything, she unknowingly presented an argument for better teaching of history and geography. There was no language called English at the time of Jesus, nor was the Bible written in English. The books making up the text of the Bible were written in various languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). So much for mandating monolingualism!

The text of the Bible encompasses a variety of genres: prose and poetry, letters and songs, acrostics and puns, prophecies and beyond. The Bible is also a rich source of metaphors many of which have become part of the language. This week we've picked five such biblical allusions.


Pronunciation RealAudio

gadarene (GAD-uh-reen)

adjective: Headlong; rash.

After the town of Gadara in a biblical story where the demons in two possessed men asked Jesus to send them into a herd of swine. The demons left the men, went among the swine and all the animals rushed violently over a cliff into water.

"Research from Greenwich Associates has identified a Gadarene rush by Japanese financial institutions into hedge funds."
John Plender; Punting, Not Hedging; Financial Times (London, UK); Sep 27, 2004.


It is as easy to dream a book as it is hard to write one. -Honore de Balzac, novelist (1799-1850)

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